N.J. unemployment dips as pandemic-related claims surpass 700K

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Apr 16, 2020 at 12:33 pm

About 140,000 New Jersey workers filed new unemployment claims in the week that ended on April 11, a noticeable decline from a week earlier, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development said Thursday. The figure raised the number of new jobless claims in the state to 718,000 since mid-March.

The week’s 141,420 new unemployment applications were 73,000 fewer than the week before (214,836). Of the nearly 700,000 residents who have made claims, 429,399 are receiving benefits, according to a NJDOL news release. The NJDOL said the application process typically takes two to three weeks.

Nationally, more than 5.245 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, a decrease of 1.37 million from the previous week’s revised total, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Here’s New Jersey’s weekly totals of new unemployment claims since March 1:

March 1-7

7,996

March 8-14

9,467

March 15-21

155,815

March 22-28

206,253

March 29-April 4

214,836

April 5-11

141,420

Flooded with applications, the NJDOL said it has launched a variety of improvements to help customers, including upgrading computers and adding more phone lines.

“We have a lot of helpful information available online at nj.gov/labor, including new guidelines for independent contractors and updated FAQs, and we added an intelligent automated reply for applicants emailing with a specific question or topic of concern,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “I feel confident because of these upgrades many more of our customers can self-serve, and our staff can get to more of those who are unable to resolve their issue with the resources we’ve added.”

About 92% of new unemployment applications are being filed online at myunemployment.nj.gov., the NJDOL said. Residents collecting unemployment should have received their first $600 supplemental weekly benefit deposited into their bank accounts this week. The first payment was for the week of March 29 and will continue weekly through the end of July.

The state said it paid out about $425 million in unemployment benefits since April 10. The breakdown is as follows: 

March 2-6

 $42.9 million

March 9-13

 $45.9 million

March 16-20

 $47.4 million

March 23-27

 $57.9 million

March 30-April 3

 $89.8 million

April 6-10

$140.7 million

The hardest hit sectors have been food/accommodations services, adulatory health care (doctors’ and dentists’ offices), personal services (hair and nail salons) and employment agencies, the NJDOL said, referring to the breakdown of claims processed from March 15 through April 11.

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader